Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dixie Be Damned



The Great Dismal Swamp was originally a territory covering almost 2,000 square miles on both sides of the North Carolina/Virginia border. From the early-18th century through the end of the Civil War, the swamp was a refuge for overlapping, decentralized yet permanent communities of escaped European indentured servants, Indians, and West African slaves. These settlements became more Black as the young American economy imported more slaves.

Rather than just using the swamp as an avenue for escape, fugitives also used it as a site from which to attack surrounding plantations through cattle rustling, arson, the assassination of overseers and aiding in the escape of other slaves. Maroons also waged larger-scale guerrilla warfare against both pro-slavery American forces during the Revolutionary War and the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Several insurrectionary conspiracies that involved hundreds, if not thousands—including planned attacks on Norfolk and Richmond—have been linked to the swamp. Some historians, such as Herbert Aptheker and Hugo Prosper, have made the case that the maroons of the Great Dismal Swamp made a fundamental contribution to a slave culture of escape and rebellion, which itself helped to destabilize the plantation economy.


See also:

The Great Dismal Swamp [WikipediaNPR]

Also dramatized by H. J. Conway, Esq.:




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